cover image Carved in Bone: A Henry Rios Novel

Carved in Bone: A Henry Rios Novel

Michael Nava. Persigo, $25.99 (262p) ISBN 978-1-7336091-0-4

Set in 1984 San Francisco, Nava’s intriguing eighth novel featuring gay Latino lawyer Henry Rios (after 2001’s Rag and Bone) finds Henry struggling to make ends meet as a defense attorney. He’s also an alcoholic, and when his AA sponsor suggests that he moonlight as an insurance company investigator, he reluctantly agrees. His first case seems simple enough: confirm that the death of Bill Ryan, a policy holder, was accidental, and locate the policy’s beneficiary, Nick Trejo. Soon his interest in the case takes on a life of its own. As Henry says, “I needed to know how Bill Ryan had died, and Nick was the only witness to that event. Unexpectedly, I had come to care for them. They were part of my tribe.” Flashbacks fill in Bill’s story, including the moment in 1971 when his parents disowned him, his drifting to San Francisco, and the pitfalls and opportunities he found there. An authentic portrait of the city in the early days of the AIDS crisis complements the satisfying mystery. Rios fans will also want to check out Nava’s 2017 novella, Street People. (BookLife)